The ICOM Definition of a Museum

A museum is a non-profit institution with a mission to preserve, exhibit, and communicate cultural and scientific heritage of humanity. The term “museum” has multiple definitions. The current definition is a non-profit, permanent institution open to the public that acquires and maintains objects of a societal or cultural significance. An alternative definition emphasized a polyphonic, participatory, and transparent approach to the organization of a museum. It aimed to contribute to human dignity, social justice, and planetary wellbeing.


A new committee was formed to develop a universal definition of a museum. The process was delayed, however, after Israel and Iran agreed to postpone the vote until 2022. The ICOM German branch held a meeting on the definition in April, but there was no progress. Instead, the French branch of ICOM made a formal objection to the proposal. The committee’s chair, Burcak Madran, told the conference that the proposed definition might lead to a conflict between authoritarian countries and democratic countries.

The committee has already conducted four rounds of consultation and has reached a consensus on a new definition. The process will then move into the next phase in 2022, where it will be voted upon at the next ICOM General Conference. In addition to the public consultation, the definition will be presented to the ICOM General Conference in 2022. In June, the ICOM’s leadership approved the name change, which is “ICOM Define”.

The Standing Committee for the Museum Definition aims to improve the process by introducing more open, transparent, and democratic means of consulting with the community. This will help to ensure that all proposals are heard carefully and that the final definition is widely accepted. The proposed timeline is for the process to last 18 months, and may be altered according to circumstances. A successful implementation of the revised version of the museum definition will make the ICOM General Conference the first to adopt a new one.

The ICOM’s definition of a museum is based on its membership, its objectives, and the specific needs of its members. This is a non-profit institution that acquires, conserves, exhibits, and communicates the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity. A museum can be defined by the number of collections it has. The definition can also include live museums. There are several different types of museums. Some are open to the public and some are closed to the public.

A universal definition for a museum is important for all organizations that work with museums. It is a valuable tool for identifying the unique characteristics of museums. It allows members to define the type of museum they are. It also makes it easier to promote the sector and the institutions that work with it. A modern definition of a museum will help people understand the differences between museum collections and a traditional one. A museum’s purpose is to educate and entertain.